The Front Bottoms - Brian Sella (guitar/vocals), Mat Uychich (drums), Ciaran O’Donnell (guitar/keyboard/trumpet) and Tom Warren (bass) - are an American pop punk band formed in 2007, with four studio albums behind them. The Bristol show was part of their European tour promoting their fifth album, ‘Back on Top’, released in September 2015.
The show was opened in lively fashion by Kevin Devine and his Goddamn Band with an energetic 45 minute set which got the crowd excited for the main act. Having only heard a few of their songs previously, it’s safe to say I will definitely be listening to more of them, and will be keeping an eye out for any future shows.
The Front Bottoms opened their set with a song straight out of ‘Back on Top’ - ‘Help’, a rocking number which really got the crowd moving and singing along, and ready for everything else the band could throw at them. The remainder of the two hour set saw a consistently loud and lively performance, with the crowd singing throughout to songs spanning several of their albums, including favourites such as ‘Flashlight’ and ‘West Virginia’. The song ‘Historic Cemetery’ brought out rapper GDP onto the stage to perform along with the band, echoing his performance on the latest album, before Kevin Devine reappeared on stage as lead tambourine in the performance of ‘The Beers’.
The main set was brought to an end by ‘Plastic Flowers’, the final song from ‘Back on Top’, which received rapturous applause and cries for more as the band left the stage. The crowd was kept entertained between the main set and encore by a short reading from bassist Tom, which was certainly…..different. When the rest of the band came out for the encore, the crowd was straight back into jumping about and singing. The night was brought to a raucous end with their most famous song ‘Twin Size Mattress’, which kicked off more leaping about and singing up at least a couple of notches on the craziness scale, with lots of crowd surfing and an audience so loud, the band was almost drowned out.
After waiting in the cold for half an hour, I was blessed to meet Mat and Brian for autographs and selfies, and the chance to thank Brian for dripping beer onto my head as he passed his can from the stage to someone stood behind me during the show. Overall, it was a fantastic performance from my favourite band, and whilst biased, I heartily recommend anyone to check them out.
Words and Pictures by Tamsyn Grant